I currently have Arch Linux installed on my laptop and decided to take the chance on Gnome 3. My first impressions were that it was surprisingly good, but as I tried different things I noticed some major shortfalls that I really, really hope that the Gnome team addresses.
Finally linux feels like a modern OS that can stand next to Mac OS X and Windows 7. Some may disagree with me, but I have always felt that linux desktop environments felt like weak re-implementations of Windows or Mac OS. I am not saying that Gnome, XFCE, KDE, etc are garbage (although I have always disliked KDE). I am merely saying that nobody was taking risks and nobody was trying to bring the linux desktop experience further. Gnome was always the closest to achieving that IMO.
What the Gnome team has done is they have taken the best "modern" features from the Mac OS and Windows and developed something entirely unique that feels very fluid to use. It's like expose, spaces, launchpad, spotlight, and aero got thrown into a blender.
This video does a good job at showing how all of these features work together. Any expose user is going to love a lot of this stuff.
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSGfS6K7pI0]GNOME 3 Features (With GNOME Shell) - YouTube[/VIDEO]
1.) Multi-monitor support is rudimentary, and just not ready for primetime. My expectations as an end-user are that the DE recognize when I plug in an external monitor and automatically extend the desktop to that monitor. On my hardware (HP DV9700) this was not working at all. This is a show-stopper for many.
EDIT: This is not Gnome's fault.
2.) You can't create or edit launchers in the Activities panel. WTF? I don't understand why they didn't bake that in. It's really annoying for me because I like to create little scripts in /usr/bin that launch wine apps with certain settings (like launching WoW in openGL mode). Being unable to make a nice launcher for that sucks. What is nice though, is the ALT+F2 feature. This brings up a little command box that I can launch these scripts from.
3.) GDM no longer has the session picker. What if I want to launch an XFCE session? Or a KDE session to play with? You can't, and this sucks. Everything else about the new GDM is sweet.
Gnome 3 is the desktop that could make me ditch my Mac if not for the glaring issues in the current version. I hope that Gnome 3.5 fixes these issues. If they do then linux has a proper contender for people who love the comfort of a Mac desktop (more specifically, the guys who love expose,spaces,etc). In a world where most of the popular software is cross platform or web based, and where wine is actually capable of running most Windows software quite well all linux needs is a desktop like Gnome 3 sans issues to make me switch. I just love it.
I loved Gnome when it first went to Ximian Gnome, after that it was always the environment I chose to use. I may have to load up a distro on a USB stick(those are just like SSD's right? ) and take it for a spin...
What's on the newer Ubuntu? It was pretty different, tried that at my friends, he was running the release just before Ocelot.
Edit: just loaded the video up(on my Xoom, doesn't load till I tap it), that's what was on my friends Ubuntu.